South Korea mulls North Korean detente

May 24, 2013 at 11:56 AM
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SEOUL, May 24 (UPI) -- The South Korean government is examining a proposal from North Korea to resume annual rapprochement celebrations, a spokesman said Friday.

North Korea this week proposed by fax a return to annual celebrations marking the anniversary of the signing of a 2000 accord aimed at moving the two countries closer together. The meetings were halted by the South Korean government in 2009.

South Korean Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Hyung-suk said Friday that government officials were studying the proposal.

"The government will examine the situation with a comprehensive perspective of the present situation," he was quoted by South Korean news agency Yonhap as saying.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula escalated in the wake of the February underground test by North Korea of a nuclear device. North Korea later pulled out of the armistice agreement that halted the Korean War in the 1950s.

Kim added the government wasn't giving any consideration to easing sanctions imposed in response to the North Korean sinking of a South Korean warship in 2010.

"The sanctions are aimed at making clear to the North that they will be made to pay for provocations and was taken because Seoul had no other choice," he said.

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